What skills are most needed in the advanced reactor workforce?

February 15, 2023, 7:05AMNuclear NewsNick Touran

Nick Touran

I got into nuclear engineering when I realized I could apply my passion for computers to the critical human challenge of energy. After training, I spent the past 13-plus years building automated and integrated engineering analysis tools for the efficient design/licensing of advanced nuclear reactors. Given what I’ve seen, I expect that modern high-level programming languages and data systems will continue to enable new efficiencies in analysis, configuration management, work planning, procurement, training, compliance, and execution in operations. The magnitude of potential impact laid out, for example, in Information Technology for Nuclear Power Plant Configuration Management (IAEA-TECDOC-1651) is well within reach. These impacts are identical to those promised by digital twins. Achieving these goals will require more information workers in the offices of nuclear vendors and operators to develop sophisticated skills in software engineering, database administration, statistics, and business analytics. Additionally, decision makers must be better trained to best understand and choose specialized IT systems and software.

World Energy Outlook 2021: Nuclear innovation needs to accelerate

October 18, 2021, 6:43AMNuclear News
Nuclear power capacity by scenario, 2020–2050 (STEPS: stated policies scenario, APS: announced pledges scenario, NZE: net-zero emissions by 2050 scenario). (Graphic: IEA World Energy Outlook 2021)

The International Energy Agency released its flagship report, World Energy Outlook 2021, on October 13, “at a time when policymakers are contending with the impacts of both climate change and volatile energy markets” and ahead of the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which begins October 31. With a net-zero emissions by 2050 (NZE) scenario that calls for nuclear power capacity to almost double by 2050, the report acknowledges that rapid development of advanced nuclear technologies could expand opportunities for nuclear energy to provide low-carbon electricity, heat, and hydrogen.